Texas Vehicle Inspection And Registration Stickers Are Partnering Up!

car dealer handing over car keys


How “Two Steps, One Sticker” Works

The State of Texas has transitioned to “Two Steps, One Sticker” and the registration sticker serves as proof of inspection and registration. In order to keep the dates aligned, beginning March 1, 2016, motorists will have 90 days to complete the Two Steps.

There are two general steps for dealers under “Two Steps, One Sticker,” which are not a significant departure from established practices. The first step is inspection. Dealers are required to ensure vehicles have a valid inspection. Once a vehicle has been inspected, the results are entered into the state’s inspection database. The second step is registration. When a dealer submits the buyer’s title and registration documentation to the county, the vehicle’s inspection status is electronically verified and the buyer is issued a registration sticker to serve as proof of inspection and registration. The date on the registration sticker is the expiration date for both inspection and registration.

New Vehicle Sales

“Two Steps, One Sticker” does not change the title and registration process for new vehicle sales. All that is required to register a new vehicle on behalf of a buyer is proof of valid inspection with at least one full month of inspection remaining as of the date of sale. So long as the vehicle has a passing inspection, registration will be permitted.

Extra Time on Used Vehicle Sales

Used vehicles are also required to have a passing inspection for purposes of registration. However, unlike new vehicles, starting March 1, 2016 it matters when that inspection occurred. Under “Two Steps, One Sticker” used cars which have a passing inspection may be sold without obtaining a new inspection if the inspection occurred within 180 days of the date of sale. If, on the date of sale, it has been more than 180 days since the vehicle was last inspected, the vehicle must be inspected before registration and title paperwork is submitted to the county tax office.

If the vehicle does not have a passing inspection at the time of registration, the transaction will be rejected.

Click the “WHEN DO I INSPECT?” button to identify the timeframe within which the vehicle must have passed inspection. You can also visit www.mytxcar.org to find the date of the vehicle’s most recent passing inspection.

Emissions Test on Resale

“Two Steps, One Sticker” has not changed the emissions testing requirement for dealers of used vehicles. If a vehicle is being registered in an emissions county and was previously titled or registered in a non-emissions county, the vehicle will need an emissions test prior to resale.

Important: This statutory requirement does not apply to a vehicle that is a 1996 or newer model that has less than 50,000 miles.

Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR)

Dealers are not required to provide a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) with every title application. In order to avoid any delays in processing your application, it is recommended that a copy of the VIR be provided to the county tax office. The VIR is used to verify inspection when it cannot be verified electronically.

Fee Collection

Inspection fees have not changed with the implementation of “Two Steps, One Sticker.” However, vehicle inspectors are no longer responsible for collecting the state’s portion of the inspection fee. Instead, the state’s portion of the fee is collected at the time of registration.

Dealers will continue to be reimbursed for actual costs incurred in completing an inspection. If a used vehicle has a passing inspection at the time of transfer, a dealer is not required to re-inspect the vehicle. If a dealer does not re-inspect the vehicle, the customer should not be charged for an inspection.

Inspection Type Counties State Portion
One-Year Safety Counties except the emission counties listed below and vehicles 25 years and older $7.50
Safety-only (vehicles 25 years or older) Statewide $7.50
Two-Year Safety (new vehicles) Statewide $16.75
Commercial Statewide $22.00
Trailer/Motorcycle Statewide $7.50
Safety Emissions (TSI/OBD) El Paso $8.25
Safety Emissions (TSI/OBD) Travis, Williamson $10.25
Emission (ASM) for vehicles model-year 1995 and older Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Montgomery, Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall and Tarrant $8.25
Emission-Test Only El Paso $2.75
Emission-Test Only Travis, Williamson $2.75
Emission-Test Only Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Montgomery, Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall and Tarrant $2.75
Emission-Test Only (OBDNL) for vehicles model-year 1996 and newer Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Montgomery, Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall and Tarrant $8.75
Safety Emissions (NLTSI) Travis, Williamson $8.25

Dealer Plates

Texas dealer license plate

The “Two Steps, One Sticker” program has not changed the manner in which dealer plates are issued. TxDMV cannot verify inspection of a vehicle displaying dealer plates, nor will an inspection fee be collected.

Dealer plates are not assigned to a vehicle; therefore, inspection cannot be verified as a condition of use. Vehicles with dealer plates must still have a valid inspection when operated on public roadways or be subject to citation by law enforcement. As a best practice, dealers should maintain a copy of the Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) in a vehicle displaying dealer plates as proof of inspection.


Buyer’s Tag

Texas buyer tag Texas internet down tag

The dealer eTag system functions as it previously did under “Two Steps, One Sticker.” However, dealers should ensure they have completed or verified inspection on a vehicle before it leaves the dealership. The dealer eTag system does not verify inspection when any buyer’s tag is issued. Verification of inspection will occur when the registration is submitted to the county. To prevent any issues with law enforcement, a copy of the Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) should be kept as proof of inspection in a vehicle displaying an eTag until registration is issued.

Out of State Sales

As part of “Two Steps, One Sticker”, the Buyer Tag Fee and the state portion of the inspection fee are due when a Texas dealer inspects and sells a new or used vehicle to an out of state resident.

A Texas dealer must issue a Buyer Tag for every retail sale and ensure the vehicle has a current Texas inspection if the vehicle is going to be operated on Texas roadways. This applies to vehicles sold to out-of-state or out-of-country purchasers (not to be titled in Texas).

For out-of-state or out-of-country purchases (not to be titled in Texas), the $5 Buyer Tag Fee and the state portion of the inspection fee should be collected by the dealer and submitted to the tax office for processing. The dealer will need to provide the tax office with the Vehicle Identification Number for each vehicle where the Buyer Tag Fee and/or Inspection Fee is being submitted to the county for processing. The tax office will process the transaction through the Registration and Title System (RTS), which will query the state inspection database for verification of inspection and to confirm the amount due. The county will provide the dealer with a receipt specific to the transaction.

Temporary Dealer Tag

Texas dealer specific tag Texas dealer agent tag

Vehicles displaying a temporary dealer tag remain exempt from inspection

Temporary Converter Tag

Texas converter tag Texas dealer agent tag

Vehicles displaying a temporary converter tag remain exempt from inspection.


webDEALER is equipped to help your dealership easily calculate all fees due at the time of registration and title, including the state’s portion of the inspection fee. webDEALER calculates the fees and allows for a manual verification of inspection.